Department of Finance must compensate Limerick Council for "every cent lost" in rates break handed to profitable utility companies - Cllr Seamus Browne
Sinn Féin Councillor Seamus Browne has said his party is demanding that the Department of Finance compensates Limerick City & County Council for every cent lost as a result of the rates-break handed to highly profitable utility companies by central government.
The rates break means a loss of approximately €2.45 million to Limerick Council on an annual basis.
Councillor Browne was speaking as the annual budget meeting of the local authority was adjourned this evening with the Department of Finance offering to only partially compensate the council to the amount of €1.1 million.
"The rates-break granted to highly profitable utility companies such as Vodafone, Meteor, and 3Ireland, is basically central government subsidising big business and then expecting local authorities, who are charged with the delivery of the services on which people depend, to foot the bill. This is an incredible situation.
"Quite frankly, the offer of partial compensation, from the Department of Finance, is a further insult to the people of Limerick and to local businesses who have been struggling to survive during these years of economic turmoil and austerity.
"Limerick Council is already strapped for cash while dealing with a housing and homelessness crisis and serious challenges in delivering others service right across the board.
"In the meantime, we have a government that that simply refuses to implement any progressive reform in relation to business rates.
"We in Sinn Féin are adamant that Limerick Council will not be forced to absorb the subsidy awarded these highly profitable companies. There should be no question of the local authority being cornered into plugging financial gaps by cutting services because of this negligent decision.
"Our position is that the Department of Finance must compensate Limerick Council for the full loss of revenue arising out of this rates-break and they must commit to doing so on an annual basis."